Last night Eddie Alvarez scored a dramatic first round KO win (video above) over Patricky “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 76 and potentially earned a UFC contract. The fight was the last on Alvarez’ contract with Bellator.
Alvarez isn’t the top lightweight in Bellator after losing to Michael Chandler, but he has rebounded nicely from that loss with the win over Patricky and Shinya Aoki. Alvarez has long been regarded as one of the best fighters in the world not signed to the UFC.
We’ll keep you posted on developments with this story as they emerge. For now, enjoy Alvarez’ nasty KO.
In what will either make for a triumphant or disastrous turning point in Eddie Alvarez’s career (specifically, his marketability), the former Bellator lightweight champion has been booked to take on Brazilian knockout artist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 75, which goes down on October 12th at Caesar’s Windsor in Canada.
After collecting seven straight wins under the Bellator banner (6 by way of stoppage), Alvarez lost his lightweight strap in dramatic fashion, falling prey to a fourth round submission in a battle for the ages at Bellator 58 to Michael Chandler. Most recently, Alvarez earned some much sought after revenge when he battered and dispatched Shinya Aoki in the first round of their Bellator 66 throwdown, and immediately began making his case for a potential spot amongst the UFC’s ever growing lightweight roster thereafter. It just goes to show what beating up a man in multi-colored pastel tights can do for one’s confidence.
For nearly four years, the Japanese MMA promotion DREAM did its best to carry the mantle of PRIDE, presenting the same mix of top international talent and freak-show comic relief, all inside of a traditional ring, rather than a filthy American cage. But we were hit with some sad news this weekend as multiple sources reported that DREAM has ceased day-to-day operations, and will no longer be producing events. So as we like to do when great MMA traditions die, let’s take a look back at some of the fights that made this promotion so unique, so entertaining, and so balls-out insane…
Though Kazushi Sakuraba’s fame was partly based on his willingness to absorb damage from larger fighters, the level of savagery that Melvin Manhoef inflicted on him during their meeting at the Yokohama Arena probably should have convinced Saku to walk away from the sport. The moment when Manhoef drags Saku away from the ropes by his leg so he can dive in to continue the assault (see the 2:43 mark above) remains one of DREAM’s most indelible and brutal moments.
Another tradition that DREAM inherited from PRIDE? Absurd mismatches. At the time of this fight, Aoki was widely considered to be a top-3 lightweight, while Gardner was an obscure 13-7 journeyman who was coming off a loss to Brian Cobb. Aoki’s domination on the mat was no surprise, but the fight became legendary for how it ended. Stuck with Aoki on his back, Gardner took advantage of a brief pause in the action — and the near-silence in the Saitama Super Arena — to wave to the crowd and shout “Hello Japan!” Aoki immediately wrapped up Gardner’s neck and choked him out, causing the crowd to break out in laughter and Bas Rutten to cry “Oh my God it is so dumb! So dumb! Why?!” Some things just can’t be explained, Bas.
Even if you weren’t glued to your Twitter account last night, you still had plenty of MMA news to keep yourself entertained. From a middleweight and lightweight tournament to a post-fight brawl to a referee ignoring a fighter’s cornermen throwing in the towel, there were plenty of things to talk about. All of these story lines came from Bellator 66 last night in Cleveland, Ohio.
While this season hasn’t been a stranger to dangerously late stoppages, last night’s main event, a rematch between former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki, provided one worthy of mention in our worst referee blunders roundtable. Alvarez dropped Aoki early, and although he initially seemed hesitant to jump into Aoki’s guard, Alvarez unloaded some heavy punches that almost immediately put Aoki out cold. When the referee in charge, Jerry Krzys, didn’t stop the fight Aoki’s cornermen threw their towel into the cage. Of course, everyone knows that “throwing in the towel” is just an expression for giving up, and not a sign that the fighter’s cornermen actually believe that the fight should be stopped, right? No? Well then someone should have explained that to Jerry Krzys, who allowed the fight to continue for a few more seconds before stopping the action.
After the fight, Alvarez had a very simple question for Bellator, and an equally simple follow up request: “Bjorn Rebney where you at? Show me the money.” Of course, if Bellator can’t- or isn’t willing to- comply with that request, something tells us that the UFC will.
Cripes, is it April 19th already? We didn’t burn a lot of calories discussing this fight, but the long-awaited rematch between former Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez and DREAM lightweight champ Shinya Aoki is happening tomorrow night at the I-X Center in Cleveland, as the main event of Bellator 66.
Aoki and Alvarez originally met at Dynamite!! 2008, with Aoki wrenching out a heel-hook victory in just 92 seconds. Now he’s agreed to meet his old foe on American soil, which is very sportsmanlike of him — but keep in mind that the last time he gave an American a rematch on their own turf he got dominated by Gilbert Melendez. Aoki has won all seven of his fights since that loss to El Niño, while Alvarez is coming off his submission loss to Michael Chandler in their Fight of the Year candidate at Bellator 58.
Bellator 66 will also feature the semi-finals of their season 6 lightweight and middleweight tournaments, and get this: We’ll be streaming the Bellator 66 prelims on CagePotato.com tomorrow starting at 7 p.m. ET. So be sure to come back for that, and check out the full event lineup after the jump…
In addition to being a GOP policy stance, “No Plan B,” is a new film by David Klayman that chronicles Alvarez in the lead-up to what may still be his most high profile to date: his bout with former Sports Illustrated cover boy Roger Huerta back in 2010.
The trailer for the movie shows Alvarez at home with family, as well as training and consulting with champion/east coast colleagues Bernard Hopkins and Frankie Edgar. The title of the film is derived from a quote and apparent philosophy of Alvarez’. “…I’m not much of a planner,” he says. “I set a goal and there really is nothing else. So, there is no ‘plan b.’”
Although Alvarez suffered a rare loss in his last fight to Michael Chandler, he will have a chance to avenge a prior defeat when he takes on Shinya Aoki (30-5) at the Bellator card on April 20 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Check out the trailer for “No Plan B” after the jump, and stay tuned for reviews of this and other docs coming soon to CagePotato.
(Conveniently, Bellator failed to mention whether or not this is a title fight.)
Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that a main event match-up between Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler and PRIDE and UFC vet Akihiro Gono will close out its planned Bellator 67 card May 4 at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario Canada.
A crafty veteran, Gono (32-17-7) should provide a challenge for the undefeated newly crowned 155-pound BFC champ.
“I’m just excited to get back into the cage,” Chandler said of the planned bout. “I fought four times in 2011 and I’m ready to get back to work. Gono has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport and this should be a good test for me.”
Aside from its placement atop nearly every MMA fan’s “Favorite Fights” list, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin‘s war at the first TUF Finale is widely considered to be the fight responsible for popularizing MMA into the near mainstream sport it is today. Well, believe it or not, that fight almost didn’t happen on account of Bonnar’s uncontrollable desire for bottom shelf alcohol, specifically, Mad Dog. Although Bonnar has told this story with a slightly different spin before, Dana White recently discussed the craziness that was the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and how Bonnar almost got himself kicked off the show:
The first season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ was the longest season we’ve ever done. It was something like 8 weeks and those guys were losing their (expletive) minds. I almost kicked (Stephan) Bonnar off the show.
Bonnar turned the shower on, climbed out the window and went to find a liquor store. Remember we took all the liquor out after that big fight? These idiots…we had been driving these guys around for six or seven weeks and the house is in the middle of nowhere. There was no liquor store near there. The guy was walking around for an hour and thirty minutes. So much crazy (expletive) happened that first season. Imagine if I had kicked off him off the show for going to a liquor store? Forrest (Griffin) and Stephan would have never happened.
(Aoki/Alvarez 1, from K1 Dynamite 2008. THIS is how men fight.)
A lot has happened in the four years since Eddie Alvarez was heel-hooked by Shinya Aoki in the first round of their inaugural lightweight championship match back in December of 2008. Aoki has fought a remarkable 13 times since then, picking up notable wins over Marcus Aurelio and Rich Clementi as well as evening the score with DREAM rival Joachim Hansen. He has only gone 1-1 in the States, however, dropping a humiliating unanimous decision to current Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez and notching a quick neck crank submission over Lyle Beerbohm.
Alvarez, on the other hand, went on to become the Bellator lightweight champion after defeating Toby Imada at Bellator 12 in June of ’09, but defended the belt only once in the five fights that succeeded it. We last saw the Philadelphia Fight Factory standout lose said title via fourth round submission in an absolute war with Michael Chandler at Bellator 58 that was my personal pick for 2011′s Fight of the Year.
Well now it seems that these two are destined to collide ONCE AGAIN, in what will surely be…an absolute war (isn’t it funny how you can impersonate Mike Goldberg without even talking?).